Forum home Tools and techniques

Home Composting

I have recently purchased a compost bin, thanks to the advice given on this forum, and want to make the best compost as possible. Would it be beneficial if I added an amount of horse manure to the bin or is this a bad idea? I intend putting in all raw kitchen waste and garden prunings (not leaves as I have a separate enclosure for leaves), brown cardboard and annual weeds.
Thank you.


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,928
    Heat is a significant factor in producing good home compost.
    I recall Geoff Hamilton saying not to put anything already rotted in with all the other stuff. Anything not already rotted would not generate any heat and provides no nutrition to bacteria etc.

    Advice I've always followed and I get lovely compost - even if it is full of seeds - my fault for not turning it often enough.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,819
    I wouldn't put horse manure or soil in a compost bin.  Better to leave the horse manure to rot down separately for use in the garden.  Everything else you have right (especially adding in cardboard).  

    The main thing to speed up the breakdown of this material is to cut it up as finely as you can be bothered, turn it regularly, and keep it damp.  It should be neither too wet or dry, as the moisture combined with the aeriation of turning is what really speeds up decomposition.

    It's also important it get's some sun, as the heat also helps speed up decomposition.  If possible put it on top of soil, not paving or a surface which would prevent worms and other critters from accessing it (although they will find their way in if there are holes/vents in the bin).  

    We put urine on our compost bins, but I know that would be unappealing for many.  It helps accelerate decomposition.  For those of a more delicate nature, Comfrey leaves does the same thing.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,192
    I wouldn't add a thick layer but I would have thought that a few bits added here and there would be ok. The secret of good composting is lots of thin layers of different materials.

    If it's fresh the nitrogen / ammonia content would probably act as an accelerator. If it's partly rotted it will just bulk out and add to the other composting contents.

    If it's already well rotted I would just start using it on the borders as a mulch.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    I have used manure and wet straw to get a heap started and my compost turns out very well, although I don't achieve the heat and speed of some of the super-composters who contribute here.
Sign In or Register to comment.